6 Ways For Preparing and Coping with Exam Stress

AD| Exams can be stressful at any age, usually because they lead to certain opportunities, such as admission into university or a dream job. A little stress is a good thing because it motivates us to try our best, but sometimes it can become too overwhelming to deal with, leading to various mental health issues. I have teamed up with an international school in London to share some advice on how to cope with exam stress.

EXAM PREPARATION

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
You may be tempted to pull some all-nighters to cram in extra revision, but that is not good for your health and will make it harder for you to retain the information and concentrate the next day. The same applies to drinking energy drinks and unhealthy snacks; they’ll give you a temporary high but this will be followed by a crash in your energy and you’ll feel irritable. 

With that said, make sure you’re taking care of yourself during exam period. Get enough exercise and sleep (around 8 hours per night), and eat a healthy, balanced diet. A short walk once a day will help clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to continue studying. If you don’t make healthy lifestyle choices, you may put yourself at risk of getting sick because your immune system will be compromised, and you may have heightened anxiety.

Prepare a Study Schedule
It may sound boring but preparing a study schedule will help you feel more organised and therefore less stressed in the run up to your exams. Make sure to include additional study time for the subject areas you are struggling with, because there’s no point in spending equal amounts of time revising topics you’re both ace at and rubbish at, as you’ll start to panic about the more challenging areas.

Take Frequent Breaks
You should include regular breaks in your study sessions because it’s important to relax, stretch, have a snack or socialise so that you don’t go stir crazy. Psychologists say that we can only concentrate for around 30-45 minutes, so set a timer and allow yourself some time away from your desk, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.

Revise with Peers
If you know anyone that will be taking the same exam(s) as you, you should consider studying with them. Research as found that revising with peers is effective because you can help one another, while also providing emotional support, which can help you feel more confident. Quizzing each other and talking through problems can help you retain information.

Believe in Yourself
Set yourself realistic goals and believe in yourself. If you don’t think you’ll be able to get an A*, aim for a B so that you don’t feel as pressured. If you have carried out plenty of revision and have realistic expectations, you should be proud of yourself and how hard you have tried so far. Try and replace negative thoughts about failure with positive ones, such as “No matter what grade I get, I know that I have tried my best and have already come so far”.

Seek Out Support
Don’t be afraid to lean on your loved ones for support. Talk to someone you know will help calm you down, rather than increase your stress levels by putting pressure on you. Parents with steep expectations, for example, probably aren’t the best people to go to for a shoulder to cry on. Other relatives, friends and tutors could be options of people you could speak to for some emotional support.

Do you have any exams coming up? How are you preparing for them and coping with stress?

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